Breast cancer statistics are staggering and hopeful all at the same time
I am the son to a mother, a husband to a wife and a father to a daughter.
In my life, I wear many hats. There are times when I am the enforcer and disciplinarian while at other times, I am the fourth child my wife has to endure.
There are a number of women who have had and continue to have a significant impact on my life; whether that be my mother, mother-in-law, wife or daughter, each has and continues to shape the person I am and will become.
And, there will be a point in my life when I will lose some of those women closest to me. It’s a fact of life.
But while we cannot cheat death or skip the grief we feel in the loss of a loved one, we accept that loss when it comes to old age, a life well-spent, etc. When we feel cheated by a death that is far sooner than we expect, or what we feel is too early, that is when grief hits far harder.
Recently, my mother-in-law was diagnosed with breast cancer. Thankfully it was caught early and her diagnoses is very good. Her treatments are going well and she is an example of toughness in the face of what is understandably a very scary situation.
That said, you’d never know it from talking with her or seeing her.
Sadly, there are others who are not as fortunate.
October is set aside as breast cancer awareness month. Around the community, and around the nation, you have seen and heard of special events aimed at raising awareness about breast cancer and money to fund much-needed and crucial research.
According to breastcancer.org, one in eight women in the United States will develop breast cancer in her lifetime. And, in 2019, it is estimated that 268,600 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed in women in the U.S., as well as more than 60,000 cases of non-invasive breast cancer.
Those numbers to a son to a mother, husband to a wife and father to a daughter are both staggering and terrifying.
But, thanks to the early detection of many of those cases, the survival rate for breast cancer, which is the most common form of cancer in the U.S. only behind skin cancer, is extremely high.
Today, according to the website, there are more than 3.5 million breast cancer survivors in the U.S., and you can add my mother-in-law to that figure once — not if — she defeats breast cancer.
While it is a prayer of mine that cancer skips right past others in my life, I am comforted in knowing that through great research that the treatment today for breast cancer, and efforts for early detection, are the best they have ever been, and the survivability of such a disease is increasing by the day.
This weekend, during a softball tournament in Monroe, La., my daughter and a teammate switched out their blue socks for pink, to join the effort in bringing awareness to breast cancer. My daughter knows what her grandmother is fighting, and knows her grandmother is tougher than just about anything, and it thrills my soul she wanted to take the initiative to help raise awareness, if only by wearing a pair of pink socks.
I am the son to a mother, the husband to a wife and the father to a daughter, and I pray, hope and expect to be all of those things a lot longer.
Tim Reeves is editor of The Vicksburg Post. He can be reached at email@example.com.